Steam Cleaning Floors

Over the years we have had numerous customers complaining about their grout becoming dirty / stained and having a difficult time cleaning it. The first question we ask is, “What are you cleaning your floors with?” More and more we are getting a consistent response, “I am using a steam mop.” Quickly we have found the source of their frustration. More than not we find out that they started seeing their grout getting dirtier since they started using their steam mops, but they did not make the correlation.

Steam mops do a great job at breaking down the dirt on the surface of the tile but where does the dirty water go, IN YOUR GROUT!!

Did you have epoxy grout installed for ease of cleaning but you are finding that the grout is discoloring or separating from the tile? Why? Epoxy grout is removed by adding heat. The steam mop is heating up your grout and instead of cleaning it, you are removing it little by little. The picture below is showing a example of epoxy grout that is shrinking.

Epoxy grout shrinkage

We suggest to vacuum your floor first and then mop. Using cleaners that are for tile flooring specifically. We recommend SCI Tile and Grout Cleaner that does NOT leave a haze on your floor that dirt will stick it. Most cleaners that you purchase in the grocery store leave a haze that dirt clings to and makes it more difficult to clean your floor.

Choosing a Grout Color

Finally, you have chosen the tile for your project. After days, weeks or months of agonizing over the pattern, texture, shape and color the decision is made and you are feeling confident and excited to see the finished project. Whether you are tiling a full bathroom or a kitchen floor with a coordinating tile backsplash, the last part of the selection process is the grout color and type of grout. Unfortunately the grout, which separates and frames each tile, is not given the attention it should have. The chosen grout color will effect the color of the tile and the overall look of the project.

The backsplashes below have the same tile installed; Bliss Cabernet Linear Mosaic Mix of Glass and Stone. As you can see the overall finished installations look very different. Why? The top backsplash used Mapei #42 Mocha, a dark brown grout and the bottom backsplash used Mapei #94 Straw, a neutral grout color.

Bliss Cabernet Linear with Mocha Grout Bliss Cabernet Linear with mocha grout 2 Cabernet Bliss Linear Cabernet Bliss Linear 2

In the top pictures you will see how green is popping out more than the bottom pictures but the cabernet color that is very pronounced in the bottom picture has faded in the top kitchen. We call this the “odd man out” syndrome. Your eye will always go towards the color that stands alone.

In most cases we try to match the grout to the body of the tile so the pattern will stand out and the grout fades into the background. Sometimes this makes for a tough decision because the body of the tile is light and you do not want to use a darker grout that will show the grid but you also do not want to be a slave to a light colored grout. The solution is simple, use an epoxy grout. Epoxy grout is stain resistant and is much easier to clean than regular sanded / unsanded grout. Although epoxy is slightly more challenging to install, you will be glad you used it when you do not have to worry about maintaining your light color grout.

At Glens Falls Tile & Saratoga Tile & Supplies we pride ourselves on bringing to light the details that are normally not thought about. Its the details that make the job complete and grout color is a important detail.

 

Schluter Shower Systems

Are you thinking of replacing your existing tiled shower? Do you have a tub surround and you want to replace it with a beautiful walk in shower? Is your shower not large enough and you have the space to make the shower bigger? Or do you have a shower that is leaking and/or having a mold problem?

We would like to educate you on shower systems; Mud Base vs. Schluter Shower System.

 

      TRADITIONAL MORTAR BASE

Shower Pan Liner

The diagram above shows a traditional shower pan design. You can see the waterproofing membrane, demonstrated by the black line, is below the mortar base, it is not pitched and is installed behind the backer board only a few inches in height. Although porcelain tile is not porous and most of the water makes its way to the drain, the grout is porous. The grout allows water to seep into the mud base below. The mortar bed absorbs the water and some will make it to the waterproofing membrane, “bladder”, but the remaining water is left to sit. It is recommended to install the shower floor tile with a modified thinset over the mud base. Modified thinset has a latex additive, which gives mold and mildew something to “eat” and grow.  We all know that standing water will mold. The mortar base will eventually become saturated and any added water will need a outlet, which turns into a leak.

The diagram above also shows that there is no waterproofing on the walls of the shower, other than a few inches off the floor. Concrete board will hold the moisture from the porous grout as well and turn into the same problem; mold and mildew. In the past installers would use mastic to install wall tiles in the shower. If mastic gets wet it will re-emulsify, meaning to turn back into a liquid form, and the tiles will start to fall off the wall.

WE HAVE A SOLUTION!

SCHLUTER SHOWER SYSTEM

The Schluter Shower System solves all the problems listed above with the traditional mortar bed shower pan. The Schluter tray and curb is made of lightweight expanded polystyrene. The tray is pre pitched and is specifically designed to accept the Kerdi Drain. Since the tray is made of foam that can be cut to fit various size shower floor layouts. The shower base can also be extended past the perimeter of the shower tray using dry pack mortar.  The installation of the Kerdi Waterproof Membrane is directly underneath the tile.  The Kerdi Drain is designed with a intergrated bonding flange which ensures a secure connection to the Kerdi Waterproofing Membrane at the top of the drain assembly. The water or vapor that passes through the grout is immediately hitting the waterproof membrane and is directed towards the drain; no standing water. When installing the tile on the Kerdi membrane you will use a un-modified thinset; no latex, nothing for bacteria and mold to grow.

In the diagram above you will notice that the Kerdi waterproof membrane is installed at the same height as the tile. Kerdi Band is then installed on all seams and corners with a 2″ overlap. Any water or vapor that passes through the grout on the walls will also make its way to the drain. Schluter also makes prefabricated inside and outside Kerdi corners for ease of installation. One last step, pipe and mixing value seals.  With overmoulded rubber gaskets Schluter ensures a permanently watertight seal.

At Glens Falls Tile and Supplies our staff are all Schluter Certified and have attended seminars and classes.  We are a Authorized Schluter Dealer and stock all the products we have spoke of above. Please call or stop into one of our stores and ask a sale associate any questions you may have regarding the Schluter Shower Systems.